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2005年06月08日 格林尼治标准时间10:31北京时间 18:31发表
新闻用语 - 欧盟工作周

工会人士称延长工作时间会增加压力

BBC中文网的【新闻用语】英语教学系列是【时事英语】的续版。

【新闻用语】每星期就一个新闻时事话题,挑选一些报导和分析,讲解英语的疑难点,帮助各位通过BBC的英语新闻和时事报导与分析来学习英语。

英语新闻报导原文Words in the News一般是星期五在网上发表。


EU Working Time Directive

European Union ministers have failed to agree on changes to the Working Time Directive which would have ended Britain's opt-out from the forty-eight hour limit on the working week. The government had argued that scrapping the exemption would have been deeply unhelpful to Britain and other member states. This report from John Moylan: :

收听原文报道

The Working Time Directive enshrines people's rights in the workplace. It defines the length of the maximum working week, the length of breaks and annual leave.

But Britain negotiated an opt-out from the directive. Firms can ask staff to work longer hours and staff have the right to say yes or no. The CBI claims a third of UK firms use the opt-out, but now many more countries use it too, following a series of European legal rulings which threatened to heap excessive costs on national health systems.

These proposals would have scrapped the opt-out by 2012, although member states could have asked for it to be extended. The government felt that was not acceptable. It was represented here by Alan Johnson, Secretary of State at the Department of Trade and Industry. He said other countries felt the same way.

Britain had hoped for sufficient support to form a blocking minority against the proposal. In the end, no vote was taken. Some reports suggested the opposing sides were in fact evenly balanced.

The matter now returns to the European parliament which recently voted to scrap the opt-out altogether. If a solution to the opt-out issue can be found, it is unlikely to be until well into next year.


Key words

opt-out
决定退出,免除

exemption
豁免;例外

enshrines
规定(并)维护

legal rulings
法律裁决

to heap
累积;增加

scrapped
废弃

a blocking minority
阻止(提议获得通过)的少数派

evenly balanced
达到平衡,势均力敌

well into next year
至少要到明年以后了



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